AstraZeneca (AP file)
AstraZeneca (AP file)
AstraZeneca (AP file)

(Reuters) – Shares in drugmakers AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Shire (SHP.L) fell sharply on Tuesday after the U.S. Treasury took steps to curb “inversion” deals that allow companies to escape high U.S. taxes by reincorporating abroad.

The move could jeopardize an agreed deal for AbbVie (ABBV.N) to buy Shire for $55 billion and deter Pfizer (PFE.N) from making another attempt to acquire AstraZeneca, after a $118 billion takeover attempt failed in May.

The slide in both companies shares wiped out around $8 billion in their combined market value, with AstraZeneca down 5.0 percent and Shire losing 6.1 percent by 1115 GMT (7.15 a.m. EDT). AbbVie lost 4.6 percent in pre-market U.S. dealings.

Smith & Nephew (SN.L) and Swiss biotech group Actelion (ATLN.VX), two other perennial targets of bid speculation, fell 3.5 percent and 2.2 percent respectively.


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